Tuesday 9 July 2019


A 49-YEAR-OLD Harare woman, who grew up being moved around from one mother to another, has obtained a court order compelling two women to undergo a DNA test to establish who her real mother is. 

Silence Matanhire (nee Chisema), recently approached the High Court seeking a compelling order after the two women, Selina Mutema of Bikita and Esther Mutambara of Sengere Farm in Bindura, declined to shed light on who Matanhire’s mother was, claiming the issue was too complicated for her to comprehend.

“According to my birth certificate, I was born on January 1, 1970 to Jacob Mapfumo and Esther Chimedza. However, during his lifetime, Mapfumo clearly told me that he was not my father, but that his identity documents were used by one Farai Mutema to secure my birth certificate. The reason behind this is unclear. The person stated as my mother, Esther Chimedza, is to me unknown,” Matanhire said in her affidavit.

“I grew up regarding first respondent (Mutema) as my mother. Her husband was Farai Mutema, I regarded him as my father, and later she was married to Agrippah Mutambara, who became my stepfather. Later on in life, I was then taken to second respondent (Mutambara), who is a sister to first respondent.” 

Matanhire said Mutambara was introduced to her as her real mother and later grew up treating her as such until she got married to Machingura Elvis Matanhire.

She further said a traditional lobola ceremony was conducted at the instance of her husband and was held at Mutema’s homestead who accepted her lobola share as the mother, but when she was handed over a blanket, in terms of the African custom, she declined to accept it, saying it should be given to Matanhire’s real mother.

“When it came to the issue of the blanket, she (Mutema) vehemently refused to accept it stating that the blanket needed to be taken to the actual mother, that being the second respondent,” she said.

“To date, I have three women namely Ester Chimedza, Ester Mutambara and Selina Mutema, all claiming in one way or the other to be my real mother. I have never met Ester Chimedza in my life and every time I ask the respondents about her, they become angry and they have since stopped talking to me. I believe it is my right as a human being to have proper identity.

“This is confusion of the biggest order and it makes me shiver day and night. The birth record, unfortunately, was forcefully taken away from me by my brother, who is now late when I asked him about its content. It appears a lot of people know about my story, except myself.”

High Court judge Justice Edith Mushore granted the order on July 3, 2019. Newsday


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